Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Nail Necessities

(If only this was like Scattergories, I'd get a double word bonus for that title!)

I could talk about things related to the word "nail" all day long. I love painting my nails and generally taking care of them, and while my nails aren't the world's greatest - my cuticles tend to be awful - nothing keeps me more calm than sitting down with something to watch on TV and a nice manicure ahead of me.

I've talked previously about my favorite cuticle care product, and so now we are going to go one step beyond your cuticles: your base and top coat.

A lot of nail bloggers swear by Seche Vite, a moderately expensive base and top coat combination that is quick to dry. However, I don't like Seche, and here's why:
* It smells too strongly of my ninth grade biology class on fetal pig dissection day
* It shrinks any nail polish you put it over, without fail
* It gets thick and gloppy way too soon
Many people overlook these downsides because they think the positives (namely how fast the stuff dries - under 3 minutes and you can go pet a shedding cat without fear) outweigh the negatives. In my mind, though, the price tag is much too high for such a negative to exist in the first place.

So, Patricia, what do you use as a base and top coat, if not the world-renowned* Seche Vite? I'll tell you!

Picture courtesy of beautylish.com
I use the Orly brand base and top coats: Bonder and Sec 'N Dry. I occasionally also use their quick dry drops, which I have a nearly-full bottle of, but I don't like them that much because Sec 'N Dry just works so well.

Bonder is an orange-colored bottle of base coat that comes with the premise that it is "sticky" - rather, your polish will adhere to your nail with little-to-no trouble. And it's true - even when it's dry, Bonder still feels a little tacky. Don't worry: this is a good thing! Whatever polish you layer on top of it will meld with the coat of Bonder you first applied, making your manicure last longer than with many traditional, plain-Jane base coats. I like Bonder because it dries quickly, helps hold the coat of color polish to my nail, and doesn't have a really strong odor, unlike Seche Vite tends to do. Sometimes it doesn't work as well as I would like it to, but it has a very high success rate, and I would say it's definitely worth trying out.

Sec 'N Dry is Orly's answer to the question, "How can we make a quick-dry topcoat?" It does everything Seche promises to do, without the drawbacks. Sec 'N Dry leaves my polish shiny and bone-dry after five minutes, and does so without wrinkling your polish, thickening up over the course of time, or smelling like the science building did at my alma mater. (if you had not seen the sign for the building and you just walked inside, let's just say you'd know it was the science building!)

Orly products aren't the cheapest out there - many people swear by Sally Hansen and other cheaper drugstore brands that can (in theory, I haven't tried them myself) work just as well. The nail circles I run in also seem to talk about Out the Door topcoat a lot, as well. What I do know is that the bottles last a very long time, you can always find a 20% off coupon for Sally's, and that at 20% off $6.99 (aka: ~$5.60 a bottle), I'd rather have something a couple dollars more expensive that I know works than a $3.99 top coat that might very well be awful.

Next time you're out and about, give the Orly products a try. While I am not a huge fan of their polish colors, I have never had an issue with either Bonder or Sec 'N Dry, and I think that anyone looking for a decent base or top coat would be hard-pressed to find better quality! (formaldehyde notwithstanding).

* Seche Vite might not actually be world-renowned, your mileage may vary.


  1. I never even heard of Orly before. I mostly use Sally Hanson.

    Sonia Lal

  2. I'll have to send that post to my wife and daughter! It sounds like a super helpful set of tips.

  3. I also use Orly brand base & top coats! Love them! Right I am using the 2 in 1 by them! Awesome stuff! I am not a fan of the Seche either. I personally feel it's junk & the price you pay for it is not worth it in my opinion either!